A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD

 (EIN FESTE BURG IST UNSER GOTT)[1] 堅固保障[2]

蔡少琪

 

461 上帝是我們的避難所,是我們的力量,是我們在患難中隨時的幫助。

 

Words & Music: Martin Luther, 1529; translated from German[3] to English by Frederic H. Hedge, 1853. This song has been called the greatest hymn of the greatest man of the greatest period of German history [4]and the Battle Hymn of the Reformation.” [5]

 

莫法特(James Maffatt)﹕『德國歷史上最偉大的時期,最偉大的人物所寫的最偉大的聖詩。』《贊美詩(新編)史話》[6]﹕『首先,這確是一首最偉大的聖詩,它被譽為"宗教改革的戰歌"』『無怪乎路德每遇到困難、坎坷不順之時,總是轉過身對他的同工和摯友腓力.墨蘭頓說﹕"腓力,你來,我們同唱《堅固保障歌》吧!"『這首詩所用的曲調就是路德成功地採用民間流行旋律作為教會聖歌的一例。』

 

Some argue that Luther turned a secular tune into this song. But this opinion is rejected by some scholars.[7]

 

上主是我堅固保障,永不動搖之保障;上主是我隨時幫助,使我脫危難恐慌;歷代仇敵撒但,仍欲興波作浪,他奸狡又勢強,殘忍毒辣非常,無比兇惡真難防[世間惟他猛無雙]

 

我們若靠自己力量,雖然奮力必失敗;有大能者在我一方,祂是上主所選派;若你問祂是誰?基督耶穌元師,又稱全能主宰,世世代代不改,祂至終勝利奏凱。

 

縱全世界充滿鬼魔,恐嚇要將我毀滅,我們不怕,因有神旨,靠主真理必告捷。幽暗之君雖猛,我們也不心驚,狂暴我們能忍,因他永刑已定,主言一出即倒傾。

 

主言[此言]權能無邊無量,遠勝世上眾君王,我們領受聖靈恩典,因主時常在我旁。親戚貨財可捨,渺小浮生可喪,身體縱被殺害,真理依然興旺,上主國度永久長。

 

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark堡壘 never failing; Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing: For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.

 

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing; Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing: Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He; Lord Sabbath, His Name, from age to age the same, And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us: The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure, One little word [Ein Wörtlein] shall fell him.

That word [Das Wort] above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth; The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth: Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.



[1]The German title is also the title of Ps. 46: German version http://www.cyberhymnal.org/non/de/festburg.htm (生命聖詩50首;贊美詩327首)

[Ein= a][feste=fortress, Burg=castle, Burgfeste=castle ][Unser=our][Gott=God]

[2] http://www.cyberhymnal.org/non/de/festburg.htm; http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/m/i/mightyfo.htm The tower of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Around the tower are the words “Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott,” German for “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”

[3] In 1524 the first Lutheran hymn book, Achtliederbuch, was published. There were eight metrical chorales included. Four of the hymns were composed by Luther himself. The best known of his chorales is Ein' Feste Burg ist unser Gott (A Mighty Fortress is Our God) (Lutheran Book of Worship 228). This melody is woven from Gregorian and other reminiscences, and the words are a paraphrase of Psalm 46. However, it is widely accepted that Luther is indeed the composer. classicalmus.hispeed.com/articles/luther.html

[4] Often called the "Battle Hymn of the Reformation," Martin Luther's "A Mighty Fortress" has been translated into almost every known language, and at least eighty different translations have been made into English! During times when the Reformation seemed lost, Luther would say to his friend Melancthon, "Let's sing the Forty-sixth Psalm." "A Mighty Fortress" draws its inspiration from Psalm 46. Luther wrote at least 35 other hymns. As a young student, Luther earned money to pay his school fees by singing in the streets of Eisenach. Luther played the lute, and singing always was an important part of his life. "A Mighty Fortress" so captured the spirit of the Protestant Reformation that when Protestant emigrants were forced into exile or martyrs went to their death, "A Mighty Fortress" always seemed to be the song they chose to sing. Luther: "Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. She is a mistress and governess of those human emotions...which control men or more often overwhelm them...Whether you wish to comfort the sad, to subdue frivolity, to encourage the despairing, to humble the proud, to calm the passionate, or to appease those full of hate...what more effective means than music could you find?" Luther: “After theology, there is nothing that can be placed on a level with music. It drives out the devil and makes people cheerful. It is a gift that God gave to birds and to men. We need to remove hymn singing from the domain of monks and priests and set the laity to singing. By the singing of hymns the laity can publicly express their love to the Almighty God.” www.gospelcom.net/chi/GLIMPSEF/Glimpses/glmps065.shtml  http://schfrs.crosswinds.net/hymns/fortress.htm

[5] Martin Luther hated war, bloodshed and violence. When the armies of Emperor Charles were mobilizing to destroy Wittenberg, the German princes were prepared to go the war to defend Luther. Luther's reply to this gathering storm? He got married to Catherine von Bora. . . . The blow that was meant to fall on Luther fell on Rome instead. Emperor and Pope began to quarrel. In November, 1526, 15,000 Spanish and German soldiers crossed the Alps and by May, 1527, were outside the gates of Rome. Rome was sacked and pillaged for 10 days. All the wealth of the nations that had flowed into that city for over 1000 years was destroyed in a few days!! http://www.reformation.org/fortress.html

[6]據一編輯有一次在建道的分享指出,當年要將這一首詩歌納入《贊美詩》時是有爭議性,因為這首詩歌的戰爭味道可能被誤解,但編輯中有人強調因這首詩歌的歷史重要性,必須加入在贊美詩中。

[7] Larry Baden: “For example, some wonderful hymns -- such as "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" -- were originally drinking songs. Someone (in this case Martin Luther) took the tune, wrote different lyrics, and turned a drinking song into an anthem to the King.” After researching every published work dealing with Luther’s music, Robert Harrell says point-blank: "None of the works dealing with Luther’s music can trace a single melody of his back to a drinking song." (Robert D. Harrell, Martin Luther, His Music, His Message, p. 34) "Of the melodies to Luther’s 37 chorales, 15 were composed by Luther himself, 13 came from Latin hymns of Latin service music, 4 were derived from German religious folk songs, 2 had originally been religious pilgrims’ songs, 2 are of unknown origin, and one came directly from a secular folk song." (Data compiled from Squire, pp. 446-447; Leupold, ed., Liturgy and Hymns; and Strodach, ed., Works of Martin Luther, VI) NOTE: The one secular song was from a popular pre-Reformation (not a drinking tune!) secular song, "I Arrived from an Alien Country," and was used as the melody for the Christmas hymn, "From Heaven on High I Come to You", the first stanza Luther patterned after the folk song. (source: Robert D. Harrell, Martin Luther, His Music, His Message, p. 18) And here's an interesting FACT — not only that, because of it’s worldly association, Luther later changed the tune! According to historian Paul Nettl, Luther changed the tune because: "Luther was embarrassed to hear the tune of his Christmas hymn sung in inns and dance halls." (Paul Nettl, Luther and Music, p. 48) Luther did not use the barroom酒吧songs of his day, nor did he use even the worldly music of his day. In fact, he was extremely cautious in protecting the Word of God from any admixture of worldly elements. This can be seen in his words: ‘I wish to compose sacred hymns so that the Word of God may dwell among the people also by means of songs.’" (Robert D. Harrell, Martin Luther, His Music, His Message, p. 36) www.charisgroup.org/dec2000.shtml; www.av1611.org/question/cqluther.html